Arthritis is a progressive disease that causes severe pain to your cat or dog. It is often seen in older pets. However, other reasons such as weight, breed, lifestyle or having multiple injuries can cause your loyal companion to become arthritic. In order to effectively manage their symptoms, it’s best if the disease is caught early. At Headon Forest Animal Hospital, we have digital radiology, which can easily detect the disease. Our veterinarians are experts in creating treatment plans to minimize your dog or cat’s discomfort.
How do cats and dogs develop osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in the joints gradually deteriorates. The cartilage is a connective tissue that prevents the bones from rubbing against each other. As time goes by, that cartilage begins to wear down or tear, resulting in joint pain and inflammation. For this reason, arthritis is often referred to as the “wear and tear disease.”
What are signs of the disease?
This disease affects the movement of your cat or dog. You will notice them limping, moving slowly, wincing when touched, becoming more aggressive toward other people and pets, and having stiff or swollen joints. These signs aren’t always obvious. It’s a good idea to pay attention to whether your cat or dog becomes reluctant to be active – this is often an early sign of discomfort caused by arthritis.
What treatment options are available for dogs and cats with arthritis?
Arthritis cannot be cured, but if it’s discovered early, then we can establish a treatment plan to keep dogs and cats comfortable. Depending on how advanced the disease is, our veterinarian may recommend a combination of the following:
- Pain medication (NSAIDS, antibody therapy, etc)
- Joint supplements
- Laser therapy
- Modified diet and exercise
- Pulsed electromagnetic therapy
To discuss a treatment plan for your pet, please call us at 905-332-4014.
How can I accommodate my arthritic cat or dog?
Making a few modifications around the home can keep your feline or canine friend even more comfortable. The less pain they experience, the better their quality of life. Here are some ways you can accommodate your arthritic cat or dog:
- Install ramps and non-slip carpets
- Provide them with an easy lift harness, toe/nail grips
- Use a raised feeding bowl to reduce the stress on their bones and joints
- Get a comfortable bed with orthopedic foam
- Be patient with them